Climate change panel and march

Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about...
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about climate change at the Lake Wānaka Centre on April 7 at 1pm, is climate scientist and 2024 New Zealander of the Year Jim Salinger. PHOTOS: SUPPLIED
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about...
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about climate change at the Lake Wānaka Centre on April 7 at 1pm, is Wao Aotearoa co-founder Monique Kelly, of Wānaka.
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about...
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about climate change at the Lake Wānaka Centre on April 7 at 1pm, is Mount Aspiring College sustainability committee member James Watson.
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about...
Among presenters at What is the Tipping Point, an Aspiring Conversations Festival talk about climate change at the Lake Wānaka Centre on April 7 at 1pm, is School Strike 4 Climate founder Sophie Handford.

A Wānaka Sun correspondent’s suggestion Wānaka’s teenaged climate strike marchers should stay at school this afternoon has been soundly rejected by climate change speakers featuring at this weekend’s Aspiring Conversations Festival.

The Wānaka Sun’s report last week about the Mount Aspiring College pupils organising today’s march drew a critical response from reader John Pugh.

He said in an email: "They would be better of [sic] at school learning something useful [and] not taking part in the biggest have they will see in there [sic] life time."

Recently anointed New Zealander of the Year and climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger, 76, of Queenstown, responded this week. 

"That’s absolutely ridiculous," he said.

Dr Salinger, 76, is one of the guests at the festival’s Sunday session, What is the Tipping Point.

Mount Aspiring College pupils James Watson and Elsa Buckley will also be on the podium.

Wao Aotearoa founder Monique Kelly, of Wānaka, School Strike 4 Climate founder Sophie Handford, who is now a Kapiti councillor, and Green MP James Shaw, the former minister of climate change, round out the panel, which will be chaired by RNZ journalist Kathryn Ryan.

Dr Salinger blew the climate change whistle almost 50 years ago and believes people should engage with and inspire younger generations.

Teenagers had energy and ideas about the past 50 years of climate science and deserved support.

The march was a good learning opportunity for everyone, he said.

"It is very much a partnership with us and the millennials and zoomers, and our role is to inspire and engage with the next generation," Dr Salinger said.

Climate advocates should also practise what they preached, he said.

"For example, I have got an EV, we do active transport and I’m cutting down on meat — in other words, low carbon choices," Dr Salinger said.

However, he advocated small steps because fundamentally, energy conservation issues were overwhelming and huge, he said.

Wao Aotearoa founder Monique Kelly agreed setting milestones and incremental change was important.

Using the words "tipping point" implied a total collapse, which she did not agree with. 

Ms Kelly said she was calling for grassroots innovation and actions to be visible in Government climate change policies.

"It would be interesting to hear the perspective from politicians, and from James Shaw, what the tipping point for political action is. 

"Politics by its nature is really more reactive rather than innovative ... How is the government empowering and enabling the people?" 

Cr Handford said "there has never been a more important time for us to come together".

She would go to the strike in Wellington before coming to Wānaka this weekend.

"The climate strikes are a fantastic opportunity for rangatahi to take their power within our democratic system, and come to terms with the fact that our voices matter. 

"We are the ones who will inherit the action or inaction taken now, and so it’s crucial we get to help chart the course ahead – which must have climate justice at its centre." 

  • Climate action, Sunday 1pm: What is the Tipping Point, Aspiring Conversations Festival, Lake Wānaka Centre.

 

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